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Title: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management in the United States: What Have We Wrought? The Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award - 12222

Abstract

In 1979, radioactive waste disposal was an important national issue. State governors were closing the gates on the existing low-level radioactive waste disposal sites and the ultimate disposition of spent fuel was undecided. A few years later, the United States Congress thought they had solved both problems by passing the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1981, which established a network of regional compacts for low-level radioactive waste disposal, and by passing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to set out how a final resting place for high-level waste would be determined. Upon passage of the acts, State, Regional and Federal officials went to work. Here we are some 30 years later with little to show for our combined effort. The envisioned national repository for high-level radioactive waste has not materialized. Efforts to develop the Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste disposal facility were abandoned after spending $13 billion on the failed project. Recently, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future issued its draft report that correctly concludes the existing policy toward high-level nuclear waste is 'all but completely broken down'. A couple of new low-level waste disposal facilities have opened since 1981, but neither were the result ofmore » efforts under the act. What the Act has done is interject a system of interstate compacts with a byzantine interstate import and export system to complicate the handling of low-level radioactive waste, with attendant costs. As this paper is being written in the fourth-quarter of 2011, after 30 years of political and bureaucratic turmoil, a new comprehensive low-level waste disposal facility at Andrews Texas is approaching its initial operating date. The Yucca Mountain project might be completed or it might not. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is commencing a review of their 1981 volume reduction policy statement. The Department of Energy after 26 years has yet to figure out how to implement its obligations under the 1985 amendments to the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act. But, the last three decades have not been a total loss. A great deal has been learned about radioactive waste disposal since 1979 and the efforts of the public and private sector have shaped and focused the work to be done in the future. So, this lecturer asks the question: 'What have we wrought?' to which he provides his perspective and his recommendations for radioactive waste management policy for the next 30 years. (author)« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, 1628 E. Southern Avenue, Suite 9-332, Tempe, AZ 85282 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22293514
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-14-WM-12222
TRN: US14V1169115038
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WM2012: Waste Management 2012 conference on improving the future in waste management, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 26 Feb - 1 Mar 2012; Other Information: Country of input: France
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; RECOMMENDATIONS; SPENT FUELS; YUCCA MOUNTAIN

Citation Formats

Jacobi, Lawrence R. Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management in the United States: What Have We Wrought? The Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award - 12222. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Jacobi, Lawrence R. Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management in the United States: What Have We Wrought? The Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award - 12222. United States.
Jacobi, Lawrence R. 2012. "Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management in the United States: What Have We Wrought? The Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award - 12222". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_22293514,
title = {Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management in the United States: What Have We Wrought? The Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award - 12222},
author = {Jacobi, Lawrence R.},
abstractNote = {In 1979, radioactive waste disposal was an important national issue. State governors were closing the gates on the existing low-level radioactive waste disposal sites and the ultimate disposition of spent fuel was undecided. A few years later, the United States Congress thought they had solved both problems by passing the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1981, which established a network of regional compacts for low-level radioactive waste disposal, and by passing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to set out how a final resting place for high-level waste would be determined. Upon passage of the acts, State, Regional and Federal officials went to work. Here we are some 30 years later with little to show for our combined effort. The envisioned national repository for high-level radioactive waste has not materialized. Efforts to develop the Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste disposal facility were abandoned after spending $13 billion on the failed project. Recently, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future issued its draft report that correctly concludes the existing policy toward high-level nuclear waste is 'all but completely broken down'. A couple of new low-level waste disposal facilities have opened since 1981, but neither were the result of efforts under the act. What the Act has done is interject a system of interstate compacts with a byzantine interstate import and export system to complicate the handling of low-level radioactive waste, with attendant costs. As this paper is being written in the fourth-quarter of 2011, after 30 years of political and bureaucratic turmoil, a new comprehensive low-level waste disposal facility at Andrews Texas is approaching its initial operating date. The Yucca Mountain project might be completed or it might not. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is commencing a review of their 1981 volume reduction policy statement. The Department of Energy after 26 years has yet to figure out how to implement its obligations under the 1985 amendments to the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act. But, the last three decades have not been a total loss. A great deal has been learned about radioactive waste disposal since 1979 and the efforts of the public and private sector have shaped and focused the work to be done in the future. So, this lecturer asks the question: 'What have we wrought?' to which he provides his perspective and his recommendations for radioactive waste management policy for the next 30 years. (author)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2012,
month = 7
}

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  • In carrying out its mission to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) adheres to its Principles of Good Regulation. The Principles-Independence, Openness, Efficiency, Clarity, and Reliability-apply to the agency as a whole in its decision-making and to the individual conduct of NRC employees. This paper describes the application of the Principles in a real-life staff activity, a guidance document used in the NRC's low-level radioactive waste (LLW) program, the Concentration Averaging and Encapsulation Branch Technical Position (CA BTP). The staff's process to revisemore » the document, as well as the final content of the document, were influenced by following the Principles. For example, consistent with the Openness Principle, the staff conducted a number of outreach activities and received many comments on three drafts of the document. Stakeholder comments affected the final staff positions in some cases. The revised CA BTP, once implemented, is expected to improve management and disposal of LLW in the United States. Its positions have an improved nexus to health and safety; are more performance-based than previously, thus providing licensees with options for how they achieve the required outcome of protecting an inadvertent human intruder into a disposal facility; and provide for disposal of more sealed radioactive sources, which are a potential threat to national security. (author)« less
  • Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Larry McNamara is the 2007 recipient of the distinguished Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award from the Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management. This award recognizes Mr. McNamara's innovation in the commercialization of mixed waste treatment processes for the nuclear industry, and the significant role that these innovations have played solving low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) management problems in the United States with specific emphasis on low-level mixed wastes. Low-level mixed wastes (LLMW) have historically been the most difficult wastes to treat because of the specialized equipment, permits and experience neededmore » to deal with a large variety of hazardous constituents. Prior to innovations in the mixed waste treatment industry championed by Mr. McNamara, wastes were stored at generator sites around the country in regulated storage areas, at great cost, and in many cases for decades. In this paper, Mr. McNamara shares lessons he has learned over the past seven years in developing and implementing innovative waste management solutions that have helped solve one of the nation's biggest challenges. He also describes the future challenges facing the industry. (authors)« less
  • This paper discusses the organization, funding, and interactions of local citizens advisory groups in siting commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities in the United States. It examines in detail the processes used in four counties and one city in the States of Illinois and Nebraska. After comparing and contrasting the various approaches to establishing and working with local citizens advisory groups, it discusses lessons learned that can be applied to any siting program in order to make working with local citizens advisory groups more productive.
  • The President signed the Congressional Joint Resolution on July 23, 2002, that designated the Yucca Mountain site for a proposed geologic repository to dispose of the nation's spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW). The United States (U.S.) Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) is currently focusing its efforts on submitting a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in December 2004 for construction of the proposed repository. The legislative framework underpinning the U.S. repository program is the basis for its continuity and success. The repository development program has significantly benefitedmore » from international collaborations with other nations in the Americas.« less